Empty malls spelled the end for Brookstone stores
Back in 2014, when Chinese firms purchased Brookstone out of bankruptcy, the big question was whether they would be able to turn the gadget retailer’s fortunes around considering increasing competition online and lagging traffic at malls where the chain’s stores were located. The short answer to that question appears to be “no” as Brookstone has once again declared that it is heading into Chapter 11 and closing its 101 mall-based stores.
Brookstone blamed the bankruptcy and need to close stores on “continued deterioration of traditional mall traffic.” The retailer, which once operated 310 stores, plans to keep open 35 airport stores along with its e-commerce and wholesale businesses. The company is hoping to sell those.
Shuttering its stores will make Brookstone part of a trend with more and more retailers abandoning malls across the country. Last month, CNBC reported that vacancy rates at malls were at the highest level (8.6 percent) since the third quarter of 2012 (8.7 percent).
“The decision to close our mall stores was difficult, but ultimately provides an opportunity to maintain our well-respected brand and award-winning products while operating with a smaller physical footprint,” said Piau Phang Foo, Brookstone’s CEO, in a statement.
Brookstone announced it has secured around $30 million in financing to help it pay for vendors as it reorganizes under Chapter 11.
- Brookstone files for bankruptcy and will close all of its mall stores – CNN Money
- Brookstone files for bankruptcy protection again and will close remaining mall stores – The Associated Press/Los Angeles Times
- Brookstone files for bankruptcy protection and plans to shutter all 101 mall stores – CNBC
- US malls haven’t been this empty since 2012 – CNBC
- Can Brookstone’s new owners revive the gadget retailer? – Fortune
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is Brookstone’s failure more a story about the plight of malls or simply a retailer who lost its relevancy? Are there other mall-based retail chains that you think are likely to follow Brookstone?